Ryan Arcidiacono had so much trust in teammate Coby White that he was willing to risk pulling a Nick Young.
The former Lakers guard once infamously turned and headed downcourt to celebrate a 3-point shot that missed.
White didn’t, sinking the fifth of his franchise-record seven 3-pointers in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s victory over the Knicks. And Arcidiacono, who posted his eighth assist on the play, didn’t see it, heading downcourt with his arms aloft shortly after making the pass.
“As soon as I got the ball, I saw Coby spacing out. He had it going. I had the confidence. So as soon as I let it go to him, I’m like, ‘I’m about to turn. And hopefully I don’t pull a Nick Young and the ball doesn’t go in,’” Arcidiacono said. “But that’s just how much confidence I have and I know our teammates have in Coby. I saw the fans’ reaction, so I was like, ‘All right. I was successful in that.’
“Our bench was going crazy as well. It was good stuff.”
The Bulls’ celebratory moments have been few and far between. One could say Arcidiacono’s celebration walked the line between supporting a teammate and throwing sand in an opponent’s face.
Jim Boylen, who obviously is biased, wouldn’t be one of those people.
“These guys like playing together,” Boylen said. “Like I’ve said all along we have a high-character group. They care about doing the right things. They relish in a teammate’s success.
“The way that ball was popping back to (White) and they were finding him, they knew exactly what they were doing. I think they honored him that he was rolling and they got the ball to him. It’s just fun to watch. That’s how it’s supposed to be. The fact that he, I think he turned and ran, and hey, I think that’s great. Trust. He has confidence. That’s a cool thing.”
Arcidiacono, who called White’s 3-point barrage “crazy,” saw his celebratory move similarly.
“You love to see a player who works as hard as he does show it in a game and be that successful in a quarter,” Arcidiacono said of White.
The performance also helped serve as a temporary reprieve for the three-guard lineup that Boylen has utilized with first Chandler Hutchison sidelined by a strained hamstring and now Otto Porter Jr. out indefinitely with a sprained left foot. White scored. Arcidiacono passed. Kris Dunn added to his league-leading steals total.
“We try to scrap defensively,” Arcidiacono said of the three-guard look. “I know we’re not the biggest unit out there. We gotta toughen up. We switched a little bit and started battling with the bigs.
“On the offensive end, I think our second unit does a good job of moving the ball and putting each other in good positions. We know we’re not always going to score with the best. But when we get someone going like that, we try to feed the hot hand. And we know we’re always going to try our best defensively to keep us in the game.”
Arcidiacono missed his lone 3-point attempt but is shooting 7-for-15 from the distance on the young season and committed just one turnover in 21 minutes. He finished plus-25.
“He’s a confident, high-character guy that will assume any job you give him. He can play on the ball, off the ball,” Boylen said of Arcidiacono. “He’s improved the things that I’ve asked him to work on which is finishing at the rim and taking his open 3s. The rest of it he had. He can drive it, he can spray it. He made the assist to win the national championship game, right?”
That was back when Arcidiacono played for Villanova. Asked lightheartedly if he ever performed a similar celebration for local product Jalen Brunson, Arcidiacono said that team’s focus was to get back on defense.
But Arcidiacono has made a small name for himself with his in-game celebrations. From the bench, he used to mimic Robin Lopez’s array of post moves. The Bulls and Arcidiacono face Lopez and the Bucks Thursday in Milwaukee.
“We played them in the preseason, so I shed a tear when he was at the free-throw line,” Arcidiacono said. “I couldn’t imitate his hair pull and his waiting at the top of the half-circle stuff. I loved playing with RoLo. It will be weird not being able to imitate him.
“I like to have fun, try to keep it loose and bring energy to our team.”
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